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Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones

Source | LinkedIn : By Jacob Peter

Game of Thrones revolutionised the way we understood heroes and villains on TV. Apart from the roller-coaster ride of the plot, each character in the show has a story to tell. Each action of theirs has a consequence. Besides, what better justification for some weekend binge watching, if its part of some self-development.

For starters, GoT showed us time-and-again that your heroes may be fatally flawed, your villains will rarely remain the same and anyone can get popped off!

Here we go – first lessons of leadership from GoT

1.    How much have we understood Westeros? In order to be a great leader, thoroughly comprehending the context is a matter of career life or death. Westeros has a particular culture, behavioural pattern and social norms. In the same way, each organisation has distinct norms of behaviour or culture. Without thoroughly understanding the dynamics of a particular place, leadership cannot be practised. Leadership is about managing people, relationships and office politics rather than just being knowledgeable and output focussed. When you enter a new organisation thus, you can either spend sufficient time understanding everyone’s strengths & weaknesses and more importantly their interests, or be ready to pay up with your life like Ned Stark did (ok!!! Maybe not your life but close enough)

2.    The mantra of success is not one: Success is a temperamental mistress, when it comes to GoT. What works once may or may not work at another time in another place. There isn’t one solid mantra to make everyone successful. Circumstances change, so do people, and thus needs to change the manner in which we choose to deal with our challenges. Although Cersei Lannister seemed like the lioness that was born to rule, she still had to go through the Walk of Shame. Your tactics need to evolve continuously to meet the level of challenges thrown at you. What worked for you earlier may not work in Westeros.

3.    Failures are bigger life lessons as long as you learn from them:Arya Stark, after losing her father, her privileged life and forced to live as a runaway is an apt example to explain how failures are what define successes. While we talk about how the success of others is inspiring, failure inspires just as much or maybe more; it drives people to lose their sleep and work day-in and day-out so that they give everything they’ve got. Just because you failed, does not mean that you will succeed. Introspection is the key that drives continuous learning.

4.    Women are killer leaders: Data has dictated that women do not stick with managerial positions for longer spans. This has often led to the conclusion that women make not-so-good leaders. Social responsibilities and expectations drive women to prioritise their family over their careers. There is no gene that stops women from becoming leaders. Daenerys Targaryen is one of the most powerful characters in the GoT universe, who inspires and integrates so many people to her vision. That’s what great leaders do, right? They dream the unthinkable and make wonders happen through the power of people. By not grooming enough women leaders, are we then losing out on potential leaders in our organisations?

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